Roman numerals

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Emilie Rene-Veronneau's picture
Joined: 17 Oct 2003 - 1:29pm
Roman numerals

Would anyone know of a serif font (a classic as much as possible) that contains roman numerals? (I think roman numerals is the right name, by this I mean: I, II, III, IV, etc.). I’ve checked experts sets and couldn’t find anything. Any input?


PS: Already posted this in the type ID forum but I wasn’t sure if it really belonged there.

John Hudson's picture
Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am

Roman numbers are simply combinations of certain Latin letters used as numerals. That is, there is no Roman numeral II, there is only a Roman number II written with the numeral I. Similarly, there is only a number IV, written with the numerals I and V. The same two numerals are used to write the number VI, in the same way as the Arabo-European numerals 1 and 6 can be used to write the numbers 16 and 61. It is a good idea, when talking about numerals and numbers, to be clear about the distinction.

I think what you are looking for is a font that permits a stylised representation of a subset of Roman numbers, perhaps with a line above and below?

Kevin Schoedel's picture
Joined: 6 Mar 2004 - 2:35pm

Well, there are Unicode code points for roman numerals (uni2160 — uni2183), but understandably few fonts fill them.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

Yes, I think Emilie is talking about the style with the rules, probably the one most often seen in pre-typographic writing, before expediency caused the adoption of a simple string of “X”, “V”, etc. The difference between normal caps and barred Roman numerals isn’t just the bars though: I think the Roman numerals have to be smaller too — like smallcaps.

There must be some fonts like that, but I know of only one: ND Fontana (by Ruben Fontana).
But I’m not actually sure if the retail version has the Roman nums. All I know is that tipoGrafica magazine uses them, and they look sharp indeed:


1) They’re in a sans font.
2) The bars are not full. But look at the bottom of that “V”! Wonderful.

BTW, I think one reason for the presence of Roman numerals in Fontana is that they’re needed much more in Spanish than English (where things like “15th century” are the norm instead).

> there are Unicode code points for roman numerals

Hey, I didn’t know that!
Maybe “true” Roman numerals will become the new black…


Emilie Rene-Veronneau's picture
Joined: 17 Oct 2003 - 1:29pm

Cool, thanks for all the input!

I wasn’t too sure if they were usually written together (with the top and bottom bars) or spaced.

I was using Courier in pretty big size and it looked kind of weird with the serifs, especially that the spacing was so wide. I switched to FedraSans and now it doesn’t look “off” if they don’t touch each other.

Thanks for the distinction between numbers and numerals too, I’ll try and remember that =)